Pink shirt day – message of “no bullying”

1. Mitch Van Aller gets in on the picture at SOSS student cafeteria

2. School support worker Alana Waunch poses for ODN at Tuc-el-nuit Elementary

The last Wednesday of February is known as Anti-Bullying Day in Canada. It’s also known as “Pink Shirt Day”. Originally started as a protest against a bullying incident at a Nova Scotia high school (Central Kings Rural High School). On this day participants are asked to wear pink to symbolize a stand against bullying.

The original event was organized by David Shepherd and Travis Price. They bought and distributed 50 pink shirts after a student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school.

In 2008, Premier Gordon Campbell proclaimed February 27 to be the provincial anti-bullying day.  The boys and girls club work on pink T-shirts that saids “Bullying Stops Here.” and “Pink Shirt Day” for Anti-Bullying Day.

Thanks to all who participate and support this constructive message.

Never too* young to help out in the world – see comment section

Free Social Justice Film Night & Special Guest Speaker

We’re showing Hannah’s Story, an inspiring documentary about a Canadian girl who looks for solutions to the problems of the homeless.

Our guest speaker is Teagan Adams, an Osoyoos elementary school student who is helping to build a school in Africa. This will be a great evening out for families so bring your kids and come to Medici’s in Oliver

Wednesday, February 29th at 7:00 pm.

Admission is free!

Picture of earth from moon supplied by Wikipedia

Classes for youngsters interested in art

The OLIVER SAGEBRUSHERS are ready to start the second semester of Children’s Art classes.

Every Saturday from March 3 – March 31.

Ages 4-7 9 – 10 a.m. $5.00 per session

Ages 8-12 10.30-12 $10.00 per session

Ages 13-18 1-2.30 p.m. $10.00 per session

Fees include supplies. March 31 will conclude with a Reception and Art Show. The classes will be instructed by Leza Macdonald accompanied by a member of the Sagebrushers. Classes are kept to between 10 and 12 participants. Please register early by emailing Leza at

What day of the year would this be shown?

I think it’s called a bin. If you drove by the Community Centre Tuesday you might have said – “what’s up doc?”
Lots and lots of cars. A convention? – Big hockey game? – No… it was South Valley Sales Day. Quite a show, large attendance, lots of tractors, demonstations, grape growers, farmers and even Brad picking a door prize winner at the end of the day.

In Like a Lion out Like a Lamb

Warm, mushy, slushy. Gone by noon?? Actually a light drop on the final day of a leap year? Leaping into spring? ( As you know the publisher is often wrong on predictions so – since the snow is still falling at 8:43 I have added another ? to my statement above )

Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 marks Leap Day, the day added every four years to the Gregorian calendar to adjust for shifts in the seasonal year. The added day makes the year a Leap Year with 366 days rather than a common one with 365.

Bright light

Oliver’s Wayne Skuhala, contestant in the “Canada’s Greatest Know-it-all” series on the Discovery Channel – Monday nights at 7:00pm

Wayne is pictured here with his class of Ladies Day skiers at the top of the Eagle Chair. He can’t tell us about the outcome of the contest, but we know he has “survived elimination” after the first four episodes.

Pictures and pictures by Sam Smith

Cooling off? or heating up?

Government introduced Bill 22 today, the Education Improvement Act, that suspends the teachers’ strike action and sets a “cooling off” period, appoints a mediator to facilitate bargaining, and implements a new $165-million Learning Improvement Fund and other enhancements to K-12 education.

Bill 22 imposes a cooling off period and suspends the teachers’ union strike action while calling on the assistance of a mediator. The legislation does not impose a new contract. Rather, it extends the previous collective agreement to cover the mediation period, with the goal of reaching a negotiated agreement by the beginning of summer. If there is no agreement, then the mediator will issue a report by June 30, 2012 with non-binding recommendations.

The mediator will work to balance the interests of employers and employees and their mandate includes the ability to help find agreement on manner and consequences of class organization and the local-provincial split of bargaining issues. Their mandate also requires that any proposed solutions must not result in net new costs for school districts.

The Education Improvement Act also includes several initiatives that will benefit teachers, including the Learning Improvement Fund to help teachers meet complex needs in their classrooms and the restoration of class size and related matters to the scope of collective bargaining. The legislation streamlines and sets the stage for more effective consultations between teachers and administrators on class organization matters and mandates additional compensation for teachers where class size exceeds 30 students. Collectively, the improvements serve as the government’s response to last year’s B.C. Supreme Court decision on Bills 27 and 28.

Above from Government website


Teachers shocked by Bill 22, a radical assault on our profession

The legislation introduced this afternoon by Education Minister George Abbott constitutes yet another assault on the profession of teaching and the public education system by this provincial government.

BCTF President Susan Lambert characterized Bill 22, the cynically entitled Education Improvement Act, as “a destructive act of legislative vandalism that will violate collective bargaining rights for teachers and have a profoundly negative impact on learning conditions for students.”

Under the guise of imposing a six-month “cooling-off period,” the bill empowers the minister to appoint a mediator who is constrained by the net-zero mandate and tasked with reaching agreement on a number of concessions tabled by the employer. The bill imposes a two-year wage freeze, which means every teacher will lose about $2,800 in purchasing power.

“This bill forces us into a mock mediation that has a predetermined outcome, and is designed to make teachers complicit in stripping the remaining protections in our own collective agreement,” said Lambert. “It’s absolutely Orwellian.”

The aspect of the legislation that is most damaging for students prohibits teachers from bargaining class size, average class size, staffing levels, ratios or caseloads for another two years. Thus, there are no effective limits on the number of children who can be assigned to any class over Grade 3 or on the diversity and complexity of needs represented within any class.

“Why should these bargaining rights be postponed until after the next election? This means students will have suffered worsening conditions for a full 12 years,” Lambert said.

From BCTF website

New jobs? More good news.

The old Trump plant – or more recently General Coach is presently in the process of being sold and the new owner is planning on re-opening the large building for the construction of “high end” manufactured homes.

Town of Oliver was asked Monday for permission to grant a building encroachment easement as the plant is sitting, in part, on municipal right of way. Over three feet at one point. All the costs of legal work will be borne by the purchaser.

Trent Sismey, who represents a group of Penticton based investors, is finalizing the purchase of this land owned by Thor Industries at 310 Co-op Avenue. Sismey told council his investors want to buy all the equipment and the building and get to work constructing homes for purchasers in hurry to construct a home in many areas of Alberta and BC. He indicated that the market being looked at is – where the time frame for a “stick built” home is too long. With a manufactured home – once footings, crawl space or basement concrete is set on a lot – sections of a manufactured home can be constructed within weeks, not months. The Thor Industries property is listed for $600 thousand on MLS.

If all goes well, the plant will hire a number of people locally. 38 people were laid off October 15, 2009 at General Coach. Council was told other businesses have also expressed an interest in using the warehouse space in a partnership including a local building contractor.

All of council seemed extremely pleased with the possibility of more good news for Oliver.

Sismey is a graduate of SOSS (1999), a Chartered Accountant, CFO of Wildstone Construction of Penticton.


Council Briefs

1. Council has instructed the finance department to adjust tax multiples to favour business. Councillor Maureen Doerr says that by adjusting the mil rates – Oliver will come more in line with neighbouring municipalities.

In 2011 the multiple was 2.9 – this will be lowered when tax rates are established shifting some of the tax burden off commercial land and onto residential. The multipler is 1.6 in Osoyoos and 2.45 in all rural areas and in West Kelowna.

The multipler is a factor of a relationship between residential taxes and other categories like industrial and commercial.

Council resolved to monitor the effect of such changes each year on the average home and a sampling of business tax notices. Council remains firm in keeping the overall increase in the budget to Zero.

2.  Council appointed Larry Clarke to the Oliver Parks and Recreation Society Board for another year joining Mayor Ron Hovanes and Councillor Dave Mattes as the three Town reps on the RDOS joint function. Councillor Linda Larsen will act as Alternate to the two council members. Mayor Ron Hovanes says the board may see more changes this year with more civilians being appointed to the board.

3. Council gave the go ahead to a lot line adjustment on two properties on Sawmill Rd. The technical subdivision now must be submitted to the Agricultural Land Commission because parts of both lots are in the ALR. Street addresses for the changes include 5777 and 591 Sawmill Rd.


Walter wants to go home

This is the Oliver Dog Pound we are looking for this little guys owner. We have temporarily named him Walter! He is a real sweetheart and obviously has someone out there looking for him. If you know anything please call me at 250-408-8770

Thanks,Gerri Eagleson

Oliver Dog Pound & Second Chance Animal Rescue/Adoptions

Kids on ice

We brought our kids back for a quick visit with grampa & granny Leverett last weekend. Here is what the lake looked like then. The kids enjoyed standing where they usually swim! I’m as careful as they come.  They didn’t go out any further than what would have been just above their knee. Picture and story by Toni Leverett

Grandmothers for Africa Charity Bridge Luncheon

Forty four avid Bridge players gathered at Fairview Golf  Club on February 23rd to take part in a charity Bridge tournament and luncheon.   The Oliver Grandmothers for Africa sponsored the event in order to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation and to take action to help ease the pain of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa.   100% of the money raised goes to support community-based African organizations where care is provided to women who are ill, to assist orphans and other AIDS affected children and to reach heroic grandmothers who almost singlehandedly care for their orphaned grandkids.

The local group of Grannies seeks to build solidarity, raise awareness and mobilitze support in Canada for Africa’s grandmothers.  Well over 200 similar groups in Canada have taken up the call for action and more than $9 million has been raised.

The money has been directed to 15 sub-Saharan African countries and provides grandmothers with much needed support, food, housing grants, school fees, small business loans and even grief counselling.  In some countries 40-60% of orphans live in grandmother headed households and the programs provide support, solace and hope as the grandmothers work to become self sustaining.  Their courage and resilience are inspirational.

The Bridge event in Oliver, combined with sales of African & local crafts at the WOW show, netted almost $1000 to be sent overseas.   Those who participated enjoyed Bridge, a luncheon and great company.   The Oliver Grandmothers for Africa are especially appreciative of the cooperation and service provided by Fairview Golf Club personnel.

Council Preview – Monday Febuary 27th

Council Preview

Committee of the Whole – 4pm Council Chambers (Not Televised)

1. Presentation by Bryn White, Program Manager SO Conservation Program

2. Historical Review of Business Tax Multiples – report by Chief Financial Officer

Regular Council Meeting – 7pm – Council Chambers (Televised)

1. Presentation by Bob Gibney of Fortis BC – Kingsvale upgrade project

2. Application for subdivision at 5777 and 5791 Sawmill Road

3. Easement request – Prospective Buyer –  310 Co-op Avenue

4. Town Appointments – Oliver Parks and Recreation Society

5. Kiwanis Request for letter of support for supportive housing

SOSS Hornets – Valley Champions – head to provincials

The Southern Okanagan Secondary School entered the 2012 Okanagan Valley Championships as the number 1 seed, a seed which they lived upto. In their first game the Hornets met a less experienced, yet eager team WL Seaton from Vernon. The first quarter was very close as the Hornets showed bus league fatigue as they allowed the Seaton Sonics to hang tight as the score at the end of the first quarter was 24-20. In the second quarter the Hornets opened the game up as they outscored their opponents by 19 points, allowing them to cruise to a 27 point victory 91-24. Greet Gill led all scorers with 21 followed by Amit Chahal with 18, Raj Sidhu 17 and Gurkamal Dhaliwal had 10, Parm Sidhu only scored 3 points but he was the quarterback in this offense output as he had 15 assists. In the semi finals the Hornets faced off against their rivals from Penticton the Maggie Mustangs. The game started as one would expect between two rival combatants, however a late 1st quarter surge allowed the Hornets to take a 11 point lead 28-17. This was followed up by a lacklustre performance by the Mustangs as the Hornets outscored them by 13 in the second 28-8 allowing them to take a comanding 49-25 lead into half time. The second half was no better for the Mustangs as the Hornets won the 3rd quarter 25-10 and by the fourth quarter the game was pretty much over as both teams played their benches in a 89-54 victory, thus allowing the Hornets to advance to finals versus the Sahali Sabres. The Hornets were led by Greet Gill with 17 points, followed by Parm Sidhu and Babblu Brar with 15 a piece and Gurk Dhaliwal chipped in with ten, all Hornets hit the score sheet. The Hornets faced off against the Sahali Sabres a team that they have met two times in the Valley finals, the first time in 2010 which the Hornets won and then again last year in 2011which the Sabres won, so the stage was set for the rubber match. The Hornets came out flying as they were moving the ball with ease and were in control early as they jumped out to a 22-11 first quarter lead. The second quarter was an up and down battle as the Hornet pushed the lead to 25, but foul trouble forced the Hornets to go the bench which allowed the Sabres to narrow the gap to 16 at half. The second half was all Sabres as they seemed to feed off the large crowd that showed up to cheer on the hometown team cutting the lead to just four points with under 2 minutes to play. A few late minute antics allowed the fatigued Hornets to hang on to the victory as they prevailed 84-77. Gurkamal Dhaliwal lead the Hornets with 27 points as he hit 7 for 14 from behind the three point line, Amit Chahal had 17, followed by Raj Sidhu 12, and Greet Gill 11. The was win was the Hornets 3rd valley championship in 4 years.

Greet Gill was tournament MVP, Parm Sidhu, and Amit Chahal were named to the First All Star team. Gurkamal Dhaliwal was honourable mention.

The Hornets will now try to defend their provincial championships March 6th-10th in Kamloops.

Story submitted by Mo Basso

Photo by Julie Martine


Penderecki Strings Captivate – review by Stuart Culver

From first to last note, the Penderecki String Quartet held the audience in their spell in the last concert of the year, Feb 24, for the South Okanagan Concert Society.  Opening with Beethoven’s String Quartet in G major, they performed the sprightly dance-like introduction with a delicate formality, in keeping with its nickname, ‘The Compliments Quartet’, portraying the exaggerated courtesy of an 18th century drawing salon. The second movement features a languorous melody leading to bursts of song, cut by expectant silences.  The galloping rhythms of the Scherzo moved to a faster tempo in the final movement where each instrument in turn picked up the melody, ending with the fierce energy we associate with Beethoven.

The second composition, De Profundis, by young Canadian composer Norbert Palej, was commissioned and premiered by PSQ.   Jerzy Kaplanek , 2nd violin, spoke of the composer’s impetus, drawing inspiration from Psalm 130 and Oscar Wilde’s ‘De Profundis” written in Reading Gaol.  Violent percussive and staccato effects built on dissonances and the sheer physicality of the violinists drew enthusiastic applause from the Oliver audience; the musicians told us that not all audiences are as accepting of innovative styles.  The piece started on a shattering unison note and ended on a single dying note, after high bird-like trills, reinforcing the notion of rising from the depths of despair.  Perhaps appropriate as Oliver prepares to welcome a prison.

Debussy’s String Quartet, his only one, offered a contrast to the first half.  The violinists switched positions and 2nd Jeremy Bell told about the influence of the  Javanese gamelon which Debussy heard at the 1889 Paris Exposition. A simple melody recurred in different ways: the dream-like quality quickly moved from soft to strident, with ever changing rhythms and harmonies.  The soft, sad and slow intro of the cello in the final movement built to a crescendo of excitement and ended with a whisper.

But the audience wanted more and the musicians obliged with an unbelievably fast little piece, with bow percussion by Erwin Schulhoff, a Czech composer.  Truly, the Penderecki musicians demonstrate “a remarkable range of technical excellence and emotional sweep” Globe & Mail).

Another successful year has ended for the South Okanagan Concert Society.  The 2012-13 season is planned, with the AGM on April 10 at Quail’s Nest.  Early-bird discount tickets (bargain prices, free for students) are available now at Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos and Beyond Bliss in Oliver.

Children’s art classses start up again

The OLIVER SAGEBRUSHERS are ready to start the second semester of Children’s Art classes.

Every Saturday from March 3 – March 31.

Ages 4-7         9 – 10 a.m.      $5.00  per session

Ages 8-12       10.30-12          $10.00 per session

Ages 13-18      1-2.30 p.m.     $10.00 per session

Fees include supplies. March 31 will conclude with a Reception and Art Show.   The classes will be instructed by Leza Macdonald accompanied by a member of the Sagebrushers.   Classes are kept to between 10 and 12 participants. Please register early by emailing Leza at


The long and winding road has finally lead the Lady Hornets to the doorstep of the sought after Provincial Tournament. This year being held in Kamloops March 6-10.

It has been a long time since the Ian Gibson lead team of ’89 and ’90 squad coached by Roger McKay, that SOSS has sent a girls team to the Provincials.   It is an incredibly difficult task and the 2011/2012 team has shown the skill and determination needed to do it.

This past weekend the girls went to the Valley Championships  also held in Kamloops , to qualify.  They met Fulton secondary from Vernon in the first round and finished the game 58-42.

It was a victory that had cost the Oliver squad a starter late in the game. Emily Jentsch rolled her ankle and would not play in the semi final game against Vernon Secondary the next day nor the back door game against Kalamalka.

Ashley McGinnis, Jessa Kriesel and Navi Mann lead the scoring with 22, 13, and 12 respectively.

The girls came out firing and held defensively strong in the semi – final,  holding a 21 pt. lead close the half, but the latter part of the fourth quarter the full benched Panthers passed the embattled Hornets , 66-54.  Kriesel and McGinnis lead the team in scoring.

This loss would mean the long way around the tournament to qualify. An already short bench had now play an extra game to stay alive. Not only did they play short handed, the entire team stepped forward and defeated the Lakers from Kalamalka, 70-59. This guaranteed the Hornets at least 4th in the Valley and a berth in the Provincials .

In the 3/4 game later on Saturday the Hornets were pitted against zone rivals Summerland.  Having beaten them in the previous 4 meetings,  the game ebbed and flowed and with seconds left and trialing by there, Navi Mann scores a 3, to tie the game and force overtime. In an exciting finish, the Rockets won 69-66.

The top 4 Okanagan  teams now travel to the BC’s.

Tournament summary is below

Sa-Hali Secondary is hosting the AA Girls Okanagan Championships Feb 23-25

Thursday February 23rd 1:45pm
Game 1 #1 Sa-Hali 82 vs #8 Revelstoke 30 3:30pm
Game 2 #4 Summerland 76 vs #5 Kalamalka 36 5:15pm
Game 3 #2 Oliver 58 vs #7 Fulton 44 7:00pm
Game 4 #3 Vernon 58 vs #6 OKM 50
Friday February 24th 3:00pm
Game 5 Revelstoke 54 vs Kalamalka 66 (Loser Eliminated) 4:45pm
Game 6 Fulton 42 vs OKM 50 (Loser Eliminated) 6:30pm
Game 7 Sa-Hali 50 vs Summerland 34 (Semi-Final) 8:15pm
Game 8 Oliver 54 vs Vernon 66 (Semi-Final)
Saturday February 25th 11:45am
Game 9 Kalamalka 59 vs Oliver70 (Loser Eliminated) 10:00 am
Game 10 OKM 42 vs Summerland 59 (Loser Eliminated) 5:00pm
Game 11 Oliver 66 vs Summerland 69 OT 3rd/4th 6:45pm
Game 12 Sa-Hali 49 vs Vernon 52 1st/2nd

Sa-Hali is the West Zone Champion and has qualified for Provincials as the host berth. The top three teams other than Sa-Hali qualify for Provincials as well.

All scores listed above.

Final standings: 1. Vernon 2. Sa-Hali 3. Summerland 4. Oliver

Allstars: #11 Sage Blundell Vernon #6 Nicole Karstein Sa-Hali #13 Shenise Sigsworth Sa-Hali #13 Shannon Parker Summerland #4 Ashley McGinness Oliver

MVP Vernon #21 Quinsy Leier

Both final games were very exciting. In the 3rd/4th game Oliver hit a late 3 to send the game to overtime. In the final Sa-Hali was down 14 the half. They rallied and brought it to within 1 in the 3rd quarter. Vernon had solid shooting from the line a hung on for the win.

Picture and story submitted by Chris Jentsch

Provincial Championships – Tier 3

South Okanagan Minor Hockey Association is hosting the BC Hockey 2012 Midget Tier 3 Provincial Championship in Osoyoos BC during March 19 thru March 23.

Please come support our local boys as they play in this prestigious event.

The Championship schedule will be posted on BC Hockey web site and our own local web site ( shortly.  There will be admission at the door ($2.00 per game).  If you wanted to earn your championship week pass, you can volunteer by contacting Brenda Froese @  or via phone:  250.485.4077.

Hope to see you there!

The chair’s report

School Board Column

Submitted by Marieze Tarr Chair Board of Education SD53

The Board of Education held a very successful workshop on February 14th where we discussed Governance, Transparency and Communication.  We set ourselves goals in these areas and will be revisiting these goals in the fall.  We have agreed to look at different governance models so that we will be bringing more of the issues directly to Regular Board meetings.  We hope to have this model in place by the fall.

At our Management Meeting Terry Collis our Special Education Principal gave a very informative talk on the funding of Special Needs students in our district.  We asked him to help us understand this better as many trustees are very concerned about the needs of these students. We feel strongly about meeting the needs of all students in our district.

Our Policy committee is currently hard at work revising all of our Policies and we are also in the process of writing a Policy around Policy making.  We would like to include more stakeholders in our Policy process.  Please look at our website to see the policy changes that we are currently working on and give us your input.

One of our Trustee’s Trustee Rob Zandee (Oliver) attended a  Technology Conference held at Simon Fraser University.  He came back with many ideas and we will be looking at how we can incorporate some of these ideas with our technology plan.  If you are interested in learning more about this please look at this link:

The Board approved a Field Trip for Grade 11 and 12 Geography  students (Osoyoos Secondary School) to Glacier National Park.  This trip will take place May 9-12, 2012 and the students will be visiting Lussier Hot Springs, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke and off course Glacier National Park.  What a wonderful opportunity for these students.

R’Native Voice (a locally developed course) was brought forward to the Board of Education for approval.  The Board is very proud of this course developed by SESS principal Marcus Toneatto.  The program will be taught in partnership between the Okanagan Nation Alliance and the school district.  R’Voice is a Grade 11 course and is a holistic approach to teaching Aboriginal youth about their culture and history and to assist them to develop self-empowerment and make choices that will support them in making decisions that will lead to a more sustainable future.  This course will be taught outside the timetable but students will earn credits towards graduation.  We hope to expand this course to the other High Schools in our district.

This Semester six of our students are doing their Level 1 Welding Certificate through a partnership of Okanagan College and SD53.  These students are attending this course in Oliver and some of our trustees were lucky enough to see these students at work first hand.  This is an example of how students can graduate with a Dogwood as well as some experience and credits towards a Trade.

Remember to wear pink on February 29th.  This is Anti-Bullying or Pink Shirt Day.  This day brings attention to the need to stop Bullying.

Valley Championships Saturday night

In Kamloops – Senior Boys AA Basketball –

SOSS 84 Sa-Hali (Kamloops) 77

SOSS – Champions again – heading to the Provincials

In Kamloops – Senior Girls – in final game for Oliver – SOSS 66 Summerland 69 – Oliver was 4th overall – heading to the Provincials

In Oliver – Junior Boys – SOSS 49 Maggie 54 – Penticton wins best in the Valley. SOSS 2nd.

Photo above – Game in Oliver Saturday night.

Report from School District #53

Student Achievement

Foundations Skills Assessment: The administration of this assessment is being wrapped up in all elementary schools. Principals and Vice-Principals are administrating the test due to Phase One job action. The district team will be marking the tests on March 3rd. We extend our appreciation to all of the administrators for their efforts in organizing and completing these required assessments.

Roots of Empathy: Marieze Tarr will be leading a workshop for instructors on Thursday, March 1 at the district office. This workshop will support our volunteer instructors in presenting their programs in the schools. School District No. 53 has the largest ROE program in the province thanks to the work of Marieze and Lisa McCall.

i-Pad Project: This project at SOSS is two-pronged. Approximately 53 students have been loaned an i-Pad for the remainder of the school year for their classes, research, note-taking and learning. A cart of i-Pads is also available for teachers to use with students for individual classes. Apple Canada is supporting the training of teachers and students. Their next visit is tentatively scheduled for March. The purpose of the project is to provide students with ready access to reference information in the absence of a library and to engage in an inquiry exercise to see how the use of this technology enhances student learning and engagement. Tracy Harrington, Vice-Principal of SOSS is conducting a research project on this and will be sharing results as the project develops.

Report Cards: Report cards went out in secondary schools. They contained Grade 12 marks because of the Essential Services Order, names of teachers and courses, attendance and some other grades for courses taught by administrators. Parents have been asked to contact teachers directly for further progress details and final grades. Elementary Reports are due to go home prior to spring break.

Innovation / Initiatives


Secondary School Apprenticeship: The second of three meetings with our SSA Advisory Committee will be in Keremeos on Tuesday, March 13. This group comprises our career education teachers and employer sponsors from all areas of the district. We discuss issues related to SSA including economic trends, areas to explore for SSA and Work Experience, provincial, regional or local issues, and other emerging information or concerns. This committee has been quite beneficial in helping us find placements for students and directing students towards trades that will be in demand.

EDI: The Early Development Instrument completion is going well. Some teachers have completed their surveys. We want to extend our thanks to Chere Plante for leading this venture.

Aboriginal Education Report: This report will be sent to the Ministry of Education and posted on our web site which is presently under construction. We encourage all of our educational partners to read the report to understand our goals and strategies.

Health and Safety Workshop: The district held a Health and Safety training session on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at Osoyoos Secondary School library. This “Best Practice” session was facilitated by that dynamic duo of Lisa McCall and Shannon Miller and covered a variety of topics to assist school-based teams in the successful fulfillment of their duties, including: Health and Safety meetings and minutes; lock-down review (Code 53) – purpose and practice; yearly timelines checklist; drills list; and “procedures” sharing. The key concept behind the training was to simplify and make manageable Health and Safety tasks required of the site-based teams.

Anti-Bullying or “Pink Shirt” Day: is on Wednesday, February 29th. If you visit schools or the district office on the 29th, you’ll find many students and adults wearing pink shirts. These shirts have been provided by the Boys and Girls Club of Oliver to highlight this day and to bring attention to the need to stop bullying.


Field Trips:

Approval is given for Mr. John Seminoff’s Osoyoos Secondary Glacier National Park field trip. This trip will take place on May 9 to 12, 2012 with 13 students participating. Students will explore “the forces of nature” as they study landforms made by ice, rivers, water, weathering and volcanism and gain a better understanding of the delicate balance between man and nature. This is the third year that Mr. Seminoff has taken students on the trip and everything is in order. . For information only, Mr. Jonnie Bridgeman will take his grades 8 and 9 band classes to the Sun Peaks Cantando Music Festival April 20 – 22, 2012. The application has been approved as per policy by the superintendent/designate.

Ready Set Learn: is a school readiness initiative sponsored by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Ministry of Health. It provides an opportunity for elementary schools offering Kindergarten to influence school readiness of children. Schools that participate in Ready, Set, Learn receive funding to help plan school-based community events.

This program occurred at Okanagan Falls Elementary School on February 8, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:00. This year, over 41 parents and 35 children (…plus 7 older siblings) participated with an array of agencies in attendance including Public Health, dental hygienist, Okanagan Similkameen Neurological Society, Infant Development, and the public librarian. The coordinator was our StrongStart facilitator, Samantha James. Principal Lisa McCall and all of her early learning team are to be commended for doing such an outstanding job providing this service to their community and future students.

Tuc-el-Nuit Toddler Centre Official Opening: will be combined with the Ready Set Learn program at Tuc-el-Nuit on Wednesday, March 7 at 3:00 p.m. Please come out to see the space, meet staff, and find out about the program.


January 2012 Enrolment Report: Student enrolment is 2,394.25 FTE which is an overall increase from September 2011 of 0.75 FTE. Elementary schools have decreased by 21 FTE, secondary schools decreased by 42.875 FTE and YouLearn has increased by 64.625 FTE since September 2011.

SOSS Update: Trustees reviewed the latest SOSS architectural drawings at the last Management Committee meeting. A meeting with the Ministry is scheduled for February 15 to review all cost items and to potentially sign off on the project. Greyback has received a letter from the insurance company advising that complete and thorough documentation is required in order to receive payment. Requests for proposal for the foundation and construction will go to tender once the district has confirmation of funds from the Ministry. It is anticipated that Treasury Board will review the request in March. We will release updated information to the community once we hear.

CUPE Ratification of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA): The Okanagan Labour Relations Council ratified the MOA with CUPE for the period July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012 at their meeting on February 9. CUPE Local 523 also ratified the MOA on February 10/11 with 77% voting in favour.

2012/13 Playground Equipment Priorities: In order to access the 2012/13 playground equipment dollars, the Ministry advised districts to provide information regarding playground structures requiring replacement or upgrades. We are unsure when we will hear of opporutnities for our district. Below is the information submitted to the Ministry:

Priority #1: Similkameen Elementary Secondary School – The existing wooden structure was removed in summer 2011 and there is no playground at that site. Estimated cost to replace is $20,000.

Priority #2: Osoyoos Elementary School – Existing wooden structure does not meet current codes; needs to be replaced. Estimated cost to replace is $20,000.

Priority #3: Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School – The school has requested an upgrade to their primary area playground equipment. Estimated cost to replace is $10,000.

Automated Dispatch System Update

The district launched the Automated Dispatch System (ADS) for relief education assistants on February 20, 2012. ADS is a computer dispatching system that is used by the district to dispatch teachers-on-call. It has now been set up to dispatch relief education assistants. ADS is programmed to determine who is on first call out, who has autism training, and at which schools and which days relief EAs are available for assignments.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will take place on March 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm at the School Board Office.

Hey we won….the game

SOSS 9-10’s (Junior Hornets) beat out Vernon this afternoon 46 to 45 in a squeaker in the final 5 secs.

SOSS takes on rival Princess Margaret of Penticton tonight at 8:30.